Mayor's Column 31 October 2018

At Monday night’s October meeting of Dubbo Regional Council I unveiled a Mayoral Minute that proposed Council would undertake the steps to transfer part of Theresa Maliphant Park to NSW Health for more parking at the Hospital.

Councillors saw fit to accept that, with an amendment from Councillor Stephen Lawrence that proposed going to the State Government and asking them once more to build a multi-storey car park before doing so.

I understand why Councillor Lawrence took that step and was happy for it to become an amended motion but I don’t hold much hope that the Government will agree to the costs of building such a large car park. In discussions I have had with health officials, they have indicated they don’t like spending money on parking.

What I do hope they will see value in is a small and comparably affordable car park that will take some pressure off.

Council has worked hard to make sure its plan is a good one. A small section at the top side of the Park, which is unaffected by flooding has been chosen.

Some people have expressed concern that the car park may flood, or that the changes might affect the role that park plays in getting rid of stormwater during heavy rain and storms but our engineers have worked hard to ensure it will have minimal impact.

We have also endeavoured to ensure that only a small number of trees would need removing, working around the existing nature as much as we could.

I made a commitment as part of my election campaign last year to work with health authorities to find a solution because I saw just how full the existing car parks were and how much trouble it was causing for patients and staff. While many dismissed my pledge as a political stunt, I have worked to make it a reality.

Gifting land to the State is an unusual move but one that would be beneficial for everyone. Health facilities are at the top of the list when it comes to a thriving community and I can’t believe anyone would think an additional 88 parks that are close to the hospital would be a bad thing.

With the land being provided, Council has worked out that it would cost around $1.2 million to construct the car park. With the State Government spending more than $250 million on the redevelopment of the hospital, and their coffers overflowing, that is a tiny amount of money to solve what is becoming a major problem.

We are very lucky to be on track to have an incredible hospital, it is important that we get parking to make it as easy as possible for residents to utilise those facilities and for staff to get there to do their job.

Council has done its part, now we will reach out to the State Government and talk to them about making this crucial piece of infrastructure happen. It would be great if all candidates for the upcoming State Government would pledge to lobby whoever is in power after March next year, if there isn’t an agreement made during the current term.

On another topic, I had the pleasure of attending the DREAM Festival Markets and Music on Saturday night, followed by the amazing Lantern Parade.

What an incredible event this has become. Dubbo really has something special, with thousands taking part and the variety of lanterns just gets better every year.

It is becoming a real attraction and the community participation is fantastic to see.

Similarly, I would like to issue a reminder to everyone to consider nominating someone for a Dubbo Day award.

Head to Council’s website or pop in to Council to grab an entry form and nominate someone before 5pm November 12. The awards will be presented on the anniversary of the day Dubbo was gazetted, 23 November 1849.

Last Edited: 31 Oct 2018

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